Report to Congress on the U.S. Defense Industrial Base

October 18, 2023 8:25 AM

The following is the Oct. 12, 2023, Congressional Research Service report, The U.S. Defense Industrial Base: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

The U.S. defense industrial base (DIB) is the network of people, organizations, facilities, and resources that provides the U.S. government—particularly the Department of Defense (DOD)—with defense-related materials, products, and services.

The DIB encompasses a wide variety of entities, including commercial firms operated on a for-profit basis, not-for-profit research centers and university laboratories, and government-owned industrial facilities. It provides everything from large, technologically sophisticated weapons platforms (e.g., nuclear submarines) and highly specialized operational support (e.g., intelligence analysis) to general commercial products (e.g., laptop computers) and routine services (e.g., information technology support). By supplying and equipping the armed services, the DIB enables the United States to execute national strategy and develop, maintain, and project military power.

Since World War II, the U.S. government has devoted considerable resources and attention to ensuring the DIB can meet the requirements of national defense. Within DOD and the executive branch, a diverse array of organizations and programs exist to monitor, protect, and strengthen the industrial base. Congress appropriates hundreds of billions of dollars annually to acquire materials, products, and services from DIB suppliers, and has established and funded a number of programs intended to assess or modify aspects of the DIB as a whole. Congress also routinely oversees the executive branch exercise of industrial base-related functions.

In conducting its role in resourcing, overseeing, and legislating for the U.S. defense industrial base, Congress may consider a number of questions, including

  • Do suppliers have adequate capacity to meet U.S. defense needs?
  • What is the appropriate degree of regulation for the commercial defense industry?
  • How resilient should defense supply chains be? What role should sourcing, content, and production requirements play in government stewardship of the industrial base?

Download the document here.

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